For more than 30 years, I’ve been searching for my personal paradise. My criteria isn’t unreasonable. I want a mild climate; good infrastructure (a good international airport, since I travel so much); decent health care; political stability; a low cost of living; cultural opportunities; a low crime rate; availability of quality, fresh, organic fruits and vegetables; access to spiritual programs such as meditation, Buddhism, and Yoga; and a friendly, eco-conscious community. After visiting almost all the States in the U.S. and more than 50 countries, I’d all but given up. My paradise just didn’t seem to exist. And then I was invited to visit Arillas, a small town on the northwestern tip of the island of Corfu, Greece.
The first indication that Arillas was different came when my host, Alex Christou, owner of Zambeta Apartments, welcomed me to his complex, installed me in a sunny two-room suite, provided me with a map and some literature, and then left me alone for the next 24 hours. Normally, when I am invited somewhere in my capacity as a travel writer, my host puts together an itinerary so jam packed with events and activities that it makes my head hurt. Wise man that he is, Alex wanted to give me free time to discover Arillas on my own.
After checking out my home for the next few days, I headed for the beach, a pretty expanse of caramel colored sand with a pier stretching out into a crystal blue Mediterranean. Everywhere I looked, the pride that Arillas takes in its town was evident. Markets, shops, cafes, and resorts were strung along the opposite side of the road, but unlike many over-touristed spots, in Arillas the beach has been kept free of commercial development. Park benches surrounded by pots of blooming plants beckoned whenever I needed to rest. When the road turned inland I descended via flagstone steps and walked another mile on the pristine beach toward the distant cliffs.
*Image of cliffside coastline on Greek island Corfu via Shutterstock